Updated : 08/03/2017
Under EU rules, a trader must repair, replace, reduce the price or give you a refund if goods you bought turn out to be faulty or do not look or work as advertised.
If you bought a good or a service online or outside of a shop (by telephone, mail order, from a door-to-door salesperson), you also have the right to cancel and return your order within 14 days, for any reason and with no justification.
Find out specific conditions to invoke guarantees and withdraw from purchases:
Under EU rules you always have the right to a minimum 2-year guarantee at no cost, regardless of whether you bought your goods online, in a shop or by mail order.
This 2-year guarantee is your minimum right. National rules in your country may give you extra protection: however, any deviation from EU rules must always be in the consumer's best interest.
If goods you bought anywhere in the EU turn out to be faulty or do not look or work as advertised, the seller must repair or replace them free of charge or give you a price reduction or a full refund.
As a general rule, you will only be able to ask for a partial or full refund when it is not possible to repair or replace the goods.
You might not be entitled to a refund if the problem is minor, such as a scratch on a CD case.
The 2-year guarantee period starts as soon as you receive your goods.
The trader always has to provide a solution. In some EU countries you also have the right to request a remedy from the producer.
The European Consumer Centre in your country can help if you have a problem with goods you bought in or from another EU country.
Mirek ordered a laptop, which appeared to work well. However, more than a year after buying it, he discovered that it had less memory than it was supposed to have.
Although this problem had not been obvious to him immediately, and the laptop was still functional, it nonetheless did not conform to what was advertised or agreed when he bought it. Mirek was therefore able to obtain a partial refund from the shop.
Shops or producers will often offer you an additional commercial guarantee (also referred to as a warranty), either included in the price of the product or at an extra cost.
This can give you better protection but can never replace or reduce the minimum 2-year guarantee, which you always have under EU rules.
Similarly, if a shop sells you a new product more cheaply on a ‘no guarantee' basis, this only means that you don't have any additional protection. You always have the right to a 2-year guarantee free of charge if the product turns out to be faulty or not as advertised.
Carla bought a hairdryer with a 6-month seller's guarantee.
When it broke after 8 months, she took it back to the shop. The shop assistant told her that her guarantee had run out, and that she was not entitled to a refund.
Carla rightly pointed out that she had a full 2-year guarantee free of charge under EU consumer protection law, and that the seller's 6-month guarantee only offered additional services. The shop agreed to replace the hairdryer.
Second–hand goods that you buy from a trader are also covered by the minimum 2-year guarantee. However, goods bought from private individuals or at public auctions are not covered.
In some EU countries, the buyer and seller can agree to a guarantee period of less than 2 years, but it must be no shorter than 1 year. This should be made clear at the time of purchase.
For more detailed information about your rights under national law, check the specific rules on legal guarantees and commercial warranties for the country where you made your purchase:Choose country
* Information not yet provided by national authorities
In the EU you have the right to return these purchases within 14 days for a full refund. You can do so for any reason – even if you simply changed your mind.
The 14-day "cooling off" period does not apply, among others, to:
If you buy goods in a shop on the high street, you have no EU legal right to return the goods (for exchange or refund) unless the item is faulty. However, many shops voluntarily allow customers to return or exchange goods during a certain time period. Make sure you check the returns policy of the shop where you made your purchase.
Jane bought a ticket online for a U2 concert in Ireland. She found out the following day that she would have to be out of the country on the concert date, and attempted to cancel her ticket. However, the online trader refused to cancel the order and give her a refund.
The "cooling off" period expires 14 days after the day you received your goods. For service contracts, the "cooling off" period expires 14 days after the day you concluded the contract. If the cooling off period expires on a non-working day, your deadline is extended till the next working day.
You must inform the trader of your decision to cancel the purchase. It is not enough to just send the goods back. The trader must provide you with a model withdrawal form, which you can use to inform him/her of your decision but you don't have to use it.
You must send the unused goods back within 14 days of informing the trader.
You can combine the obligation to inform the trader and to send back the goods, for example, by adding a written statement with the goods that you are returning by post, or by sending a fax or e-mail.
The trader must give you a refund within 14 days from receipt of your cancellation, but can delay refunding you if they have not received the goods or evidence that you have returned.
This refund must include any shipping charges you paid when you made your purchase. However, the trader may charge you additional delivery costs if you specifically requested non-standard (express) delivery.
The trader should inform you that you have to pay the costs of returning the goods. If they fail do so, they will have to bear the cost. You do not have to pay any other charges that you were not informed about.
For bulky goods (such as large household equipment), the trader must give you at least an estimation of the cost of returning them.
Bulky goods bought from a door-to-door salesperson and delivered to you immediately must always, however, be collected by the trader at their own expense.